For those enquiring minds wondering “What is this Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition with its illustrious talk of cash prizes and artistic glory all for a good cause?”

We have some answers.

It is a very special worldwide songwriting competition based in Australia and open to songwriters of all genres, at any stage in their career, with all entry fee proceeds going directly to fund the transformative programs of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia (NRMTA).

With the deadline of May 2 approaching, we went direct to the source (the competition organisers) to find out more. Who is the source? That information and so much more is provided below. Let’s go!

  1. Vanda & Young are musical heroes and the competition is named in their honour.
    Harry Vanda and the late George Young founded The Easybeats, one of the first Aussie bands to really crack the international music market. They are responsible for The Easybeats’ classic Friday On My Mind, John Paul Young’s Love is in the Air and a slew of other hits.

  1. Alberts is the music company that created the initiative. 
    Founded in 1885, Alberts is a family-run business that has played a vital role in the evolution of Australia’s media and popular culture since the early days of sheet music to being the musical home of AC/DC and The Easybeats, and as a respected music rights management company.Read the abridged version of their incredible history. Their charitable involvement with NRMTA was the impetus to the competition, which is organised and administered by APRA AMCOS staff on a volunteer basis.

  1. Cash prizes. Just cash.
    The winners do not receive stuff. They receive cash donated by generous sponsors, because what does a songwriter need to fund their hopes, dreams, and the next regional tour or a new laptop? You know it.

1st prize

$50,000 (courtesy of Alberts, BMG, APRA AMCOS)

2nd prize

$10,000  (courtesy of AMPAL, Australasian Music Publishers Association)

3rd prize

$5,000 (courtesy of Aon)
Unpublished prize: $5,000 (courtesy of unknown mystery sponsor)

Attention international readers, please note the amounts are in Australian dollars.

  1. Each song truly makes a difference to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia.
    There are some top notch songwriting competitions out there, but Vanda & Young is pretty unique in that the full $50 entry fee per song goes to support the programs of NRMTA. The 2018 competition saw songwriters propel all-time funds raised past $1million. Thank you, songwriters!

Watch Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in action below:


  1. World’s BIGGEST first-place cash prize for a songwriting competition.
    $50,000 for first place, true story. Last year’s winner Amy Shark used her prize to help fund the next stage of her brilliant career. The very talented Gretta Ray won $50,000 in 2016 and it took her to the US and back with a bunch of writing and recording in between.

  1. The competition is open to songwriters from anywhere, doing all kinds of music.
    There are no boundaries – geographically or musically – when it comes to song entries. A song can be sung in any language, it can be purely instrumental, released or unreleased, or in demo form.

Fun fact: an unreleased Be Alright written by Dean Lewis and Jon Hume was entered and made the Top 40 shortlist in 2018. It has gone on to be streamed nearly 1 billion times since its official release.

In 2018, there were song entries from 30 different countries and 2016 marked V & Y’s first international honouree with Californian hip-hop artist Tia P. tying for 2nd runner up.

 7. The competition’s first winner was an up-and-coming Megan Washington in 2009. Other Previous winners have gone on to, oh, win Grammys.

Watch Gotye’s clip for ‘Somebody that I used to know’:


  1. Blind judging.
    Vanda & Young judging is kind of like the blind taste test on The Great British Bake Off. The Judges consume, but do not know whose creation it is they are listening to.All songs are given a unique code when submitted and the judges can only view this code and the song title. This means that all entries are anonymous until the final winners are revealed. At no stage will the identity of the applicants involved be revealed to the judges.

  1. Speaking of judges…
    They also generously donate their time to the cause. This year’s judges are award-winning songwriters, journalists, label reps, producers, managers, programmers, and playlist curators who all have very discerning taste and great ears. Turns out, the comp is a favourite of A&Rs too.

  1. Open to all ages.
    We know how talented those peppy teens can be (e.g. Gretta Ray), so there are no age restrictions, but if you are under 18 you do need a parent’s permission.


Entries for the 2019 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition close 2 May 2019. Enter now.